Home Base Spirits Bourbon Batch #9
All it took was one trip to a distillery for Ali and Sam Blatteis to decide to go all-in and start their own whiskey brand. But it wasn’t just the whiskey that caught their attention there; it was the desire the master distiller exuded to connect with his farmer-partners that really hooked them. After all, bourbon is an agricultural product; the better the grain, the better the whiskey! But you rarely hear distillers talk about where their grains are coming from and why they’re so important. So the twin sisters set out to produce a bourbon whose grains are sourced entirely from family farms, most of which are organic. To take this one step further, they disclose and promote their farmer-partners so highlight everything from grain to glass. The result? Home Base Bourbon, one of the best small-batch whiskies we have come across since developing our craft spirits selection.
To make this, they source from an individual barley farmer in Oregon and organic growers for corn and wheat in the Sacramento area and Washington, respectively. The distillation is done in California’s Central Valley and is then aged in their Berkeley warehouse. They’re only running the still occasionally and enough to fill a couple of barrels at a time, watching carefully to make the cuts at just the right time. I went to help run the still one day last fall and was really inspired by their thoughtful approach from grain to still to glass as well as their kind and genuine personalities.
Home Base Bourbon is the epitome of a small-batch whiskey. This particular batch, which is only their 9th, comes from a whopping two barrel blend. The mash bill is predominantly corn with some malted barley and wheat to add depth and texture. I love this bourbon for its subtle and elegant complexity. Notes of tobacco, clove, vanilla, cedar, toffee, red-hot cinnamon, cherry and banana are prominent. But underneath, is a sous-bois-like characteristic; this forest floor note that is so damn tasty. The finish is long and never is this bourbon too hot. This is perfect to drink neat, with maybe 2 ice cubes or with your classic whiskey-dominant cocktail.